So one, two, three, take my hand and come with me
Because you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine
I say you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine
Oh four, five, six, c’mon and get your kicks
Now you don’t need the money when you look like that, do you honey?–Jet, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”
Hey, my kinky, polyam peeps! Welcome back for what I hope will be a very educational and captivating blog post. As we recently hit 5,000 views on The Bratty Cat Website and we close in on 4,000 followers on our Facebook page, the last five months have brought way more success than I ever thought possible, and I’m very excited to bring you the boatload of ideas I’ve got rattling around in my skull.
The inspiration for today’s post, like most of what I write about, came from social media. In this case, this post from Vanguardigan on TikTok. It was shared in my local poly group on Facebook, and since I’m ALWAYS ready to talk about consent, I thought “Hey! This is a great opportunity to discuss the differences between the polyamorous and monogamous communities.
Since I’ve really engrossed myself in the polyam community, and especially since I started this blog, I’ve been doing my best to try and stay humble. I’ve always said that there’s nothing wrong with monogamy, and I honestly believe that. There are certain behaviors that are associated with monogamy that are unhealthy, and others that are downright toxic. I don’t want to say that polyam people are “better” than monogamous people, and I do believe there are certain relationship concepts that polyam people have a better understanding of that we can relay to the monogamous community to make their lives richer and more fulfilling.
Before I go any further, let me do the obligatory resource share. For this post I referenced the TikTok video from Vanguardigan listed above, as well as these articles from WikiHow, Science of People, Seventeen Magazine, and Cosmopolitan.
As someone who was socially awkward until, I’d say my early thirties, flirting is never something that has never come naturally to me. There’s no doubt that my autism had a lot to do with it. In fact, given the large overlap between the polyamorous and neurodivergent communities, it really doesn’t come as any surprise that what I’m about to discuss just seemed like the “right” way to do things. More than that though, the way polyam people flirt focuses heavily on both communication and consent, something that every relationship expert will tell you we as a society need to do more of, yet, as I’m about to show you, the messaging we get is somewhat contradictory.
Before we get into how to flirt, let’s talk about WHY we flirt. Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself “Bratty Cat, that is SOOOOO obvious! We flirt to show someone that we’re interested in them!” Ok, fair enough. Then why don’t we just say that? Why don’t we just say “Hey, you’re really cool and I’d like to take you on a date sometime”? Wouldn’t that be easier?
The truth is, it would be easier, but if we’re being honest, for most people, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. That, in fact, is the point that I’m making. While poly people flirt in order to lay the foundation for a successful relationship, the majority of monogamous individuals flirt as a pre-prescribed ritual that accompanies modern relationships. But don’t take my word for it: Let’s go to the proverbial video tape.
As I mentioned earlier, I did some extensive research on flirting through everyone’s favorite resource, Google, and, coming from a culture that is so hyper-focused on authenticity and consent, what I found was, in some cases, worrisome if not down-right cringe-worthy. I will say that the Internet did actually provide some useful advice on flirting. Things such as making eye contact, smiling, expressing genuine interest in the conversation, and leaning in when speaking are all great habits that show the other person that you really do want to hear what they have to say. It’s been said that people love to talk about themselves, and half of flirting is just that: giving someone a safe space to talk about what’s on their minds.
The rest of it, however, reads like something out of Tywin Lannister’s playbook:
Things like disingenuous compliments (in other words: lying), love bombing, withholding (playing hard to get so the person you’re flirting with will want you more) and non-consensual touching can all be classified as forms of emotional abuse, yet, this is how we’re expected to START relationships. The Cosmopolitan article even suggested altering the tone of your voice to subconsciously coerce someone into taking you out on a date. What kind of Bene Gesserit mind-fuck bullshit is that???
So how DO we flirt exactly? Well, first we start treating people like people and not a prize to be won. I know that doesn’t sound like a revolutionary concept, and from the information I’ve just presented above, it’s clear we as a society still aren’t grasping it. It’s fun to think of flirting as a “game”, but if you treat is as such, what you’re saying is “the foundation on which I’m going to build this relationship is a joke”, and I don’t believe most people actually feel that way.
Second, we focus on the dreaded “C” word: Communication. As Vanguardigan mentions in their video, you can be both sincere and clear about your intentions at the same time. There’s nothing wrong with complimenting someone you’re interested in, just don’t be fake about it. Explain to them your intentions, explain why you feel that way, and give them the space to consider your proposal. Is this less interesting than traditional flirting? Sure. Is it more effective? You bet your sweet ass it is.
It’s no secret that the polyam community centers their communication around the all-important concept of consent. A key component of consent is that all parties are properly informed. You can’t agree to something if you don’t know what you’re agreeing to. Traditional flirting, whether we realize it or not, is centered around obfuscation and creating a false narrative about someone we think the other person would want to date, not who they actually are dating. If you want to build a successful relationship from the ground up, show up, as your true self, because if the other person isn’t interested in you, are they really worth having?
Until next time, stay kinky, my friends…